South San Francisco

Dice’s IPO roll comes up with $204M for R&D of oral drugs to rival biologics

Dice Therapeutics raised $204 million from its IPO to support development of oral drugs that could compete against biologic drugs that are injected or infused. Also debuting on the public markets were Tyra Biosciences and Procept BioRobotics.

Theravance’s lead drug fails in Phase 3, triggers a restructuring cutting 75% of staff

The clinical trial failure of Theravance Biopharma’s most advanced internal program, a drug for a rare blood pressure disorder, is leading to a companywide restructuring. Going forward, the biotech will focus on developing drugs for respiratory disorders.

Startup Walking Fish nabs $50M to run with B cell therapies for cancer & more

Walking Fish Therapeutics is developing cell therapies from B cells, a type of immune cell that produces prodigious amounts of proteins. Cancer, autoimmune disease, and regenerative medicine are among the targets of the preclinical-stage biotech, which unveiled $50 million in funding.

Assembly Bio drops hepatitis B drug after liver problems surface in clinical trial

Four patients dosed with an experimental Assembly Biosciences hepatitis B treatment developed high levels of liver enzymes, a sign of drug-induced liver toxicity. The biotech has decided to stop further work on that drug and focus instead on developing its other clinical-stage hepatitis B drugs.

Asher Bio’s encouraging early data against rival cancer drug sparks $108M financing

Five months after raising $55 million to back a new technology and a promising lead cancer immunotherapy, Asher Biotherapeutics has reeled in $108 million more. CEO Craig Gibbs said investors were enticed by encouraging new data suggesting Asher Bio’s lead program is superior to a competitor’s.

Eli Lilly aims for the next-generation of protein degraders via Lycia R&D alliance

Eli Lilly is entering the field of protein-degrading drugs through a partnership with Lycia Therapeutics, a startup whose technology goes further than the first wave of such drugs. Lilly paid $35 million to begin the alliance, which spans up to five drugs.

Theravance’s Janssen Biotech-partnered ulcerative colitis drug flops in Phase 2

The Theravance Biopharma drug is the lead program in an alliance with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Biotech, which paid $100 million up front to develop the JAK inhibitor for intestinal diseases. Following the Phase 2 failure, Theravance said it will minimize spending on that program.

Verily adds to its clinical trials toolbox with acquisition of startup SignalPath

Verily’s recent moves have signaled the company’s interest in supporting decentralized clinical trials and real-world studies. Now the life sciences subsidiary of Alphabet is bolstering its capabilities in this these areas with the acquisition of startup SignalPath.

Frontier Medicines raises $88M for R&D, including potential rival to Amgen cancer drug

Cancer drug developer Frontier Medicines already has a research partnership with AbbVie. Now the preclinical-stage biotech has raised $88.5 million for its own pipeline, including a drug that could offer advantages over a recently approved Amgen cancer therapy.

Cytokinetics stock soars on heart drug data that sets stage for Phase 3 studies

A Cytokinetics drug in development for treating a rare heart disorder has promising Phase 2 data suggesting it could compete against a Bristol Myers Squibb drug currently under FDA review. Cytokinetics plans to advance its small molecule to Phase 3 testing by the end of this year.

GSK adds neuro prospects, paying $700M to share R&D of Alector’s two lead drugs

GlaxoSmithKline is paying Alector $700 million up front to share in the development of the biotech’s two lead drugs, which offer potentially broad application in treating neurological disorders. Alector’s approach addresses the role immune cell dysfunction plays in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Lyell, Verve IPOs raise a combined $692M as both biotechs steer toward clinical trials

Lyell Immunopharma and Verve Therapeutics are still preclinical, but they’re bring novel genetic approaches to the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Now the two companies can claim two of the biggest biotech IPOs of 2021 so far.

NGM Bio’s NASH drug fails in Phase 2; focus shifts to Merck-partnered programs

An NGM Biopharmaceuticals drug candidate for the fatty liver disease NASH failed a Phase 2b study less than a year after the company reported positive results from an earlier mid-stage study. The biotech will now focus on programs in eye diseases and cancer that are partnered with Merck.

Wall Street is lukewarm to Vera’s pivot from gene editing to rare kidney disease

Vera Therapeutics raised $47.9 million from its IPO to continue clinical development of its lead asset, a potential treatment for the kidney disease IgA nephropathy. But the company is joining a crowded field of companies aiming to develop a drug for the rare disorder.

Backed by $92M, startup Interline aims to shed new light on protein communities

Interline Therapeutics has technology that shows how proteins interact as communities, paving the way for the discovery of new drugs. CEO Zachary Sweeney, a Denali Therapeutics veteran, said the startup will use the $92 million in funding to advance programs in cancer and inflammatory diseases.

GSK fires ex-Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui after sexual harassment inquiry

GSK has terminated Moncef Slaoui as board chair of Galvani Bioelectronics after an investigation substantiated a sexual harassment claim dating to his tenure at the pharmaceutical giant. The company said the inquiry is continuing.

Asher Bio adds $55M and takes a page from nature for cancer immunotherapy

Interluekin-2’s use as an immunotherapy has been limited by its severe side effects. Asher Bio is developing a version of IL-2 that the startup’s Chief Technology Officer Andy Yeung said could be more targeted and safer than other approaches.

Global Blood Therapeutics inks deal for two sickle cell disease drugs from Sanofi

In acquiring the two early-stage Sanofi drugs for sickle cell disease, Global Blood Therapeutics aims to complement Oxbryta, its FDA-approved treatment for the rare blood disorder. Meanwhile, Sanofi can turn its full sickle cell efforts on a gene-editing therapy partnered with Sangamo Therapeutics.